Conference schedule updated Friday 21st July 9am

There will be a final drinks reception in the concourse after the conference closing ceremony. We hope you can join us there.

Ulster University International Pragmatics Conference

Plenary Speakers

Plenary speakers and topics at IPRA conference 2017.

Peter AuerPeter Auer

Peter Auer

Wednesday 19th 9.15 – 10.00
Turn allocation, addressee selection, and gaze

The recent rise of interest in research on turn-taking from a number of disciplinary perspectives (cf. Holler et al., eds., 2016; Rossano 2012) shows that the last word has not been said on this topic , despite Sacks, Schegloff’s and Jefferson’s seminal 1974 paper which was foundational for conversation analysis.

One of the obvious shortcomings of these authors’ model is its lacking consideration of multimodal turn allocation and turn taking practices, above all in the visual domain of interaction.

My talk will address one of these components, i.e. gaze, arguably the most central one for turn-taking. On the basis of eye-tracking data of naturally occurring multi-party interaction, my main focus will be on current speaker’s gaze and its functions for addressee selection and next speaker selection. Gaze is a ubiquitous resource in face-to-face interaction, not restricted to, e.g., first parts of adjacency pairs.

Around the end of a current speaker’s TCU it is a powerful and pervasive practice to select a preferred next speaker, as I will show. One of the consequences of this finding is that (non-competitive) self-selection as a hierarchically subordinated option which only applies when the current speaker has not used his or her rights to select a next speaker, becomes considerably less frequent. Its preferred context seems to be after sequence/topic closure. On the other hand, the status of competitive turn-transitions also changes, since a participant may self-select although the current speaker has suggested another participant as next speaker by gaze. The ensuing competitions for the turn are multimodal phenomena which do not become manifest on the verbal level.

In sum, I will argue for a reconsideration of the relative status of next-speaker selection by current speaker (“Rule (1)(a)” in Sacks’ et al. model), and of self-selection by a next speaker (“Rule (1)(b)”). Holler, J., Kendrick, K.H., Casillas, M. &amp; Levinson, S.C. (eds) 2016, Turn-Taking in Human Communicative Interaction. Lausanne: Frontiers Media. (doi: 10.3389/978-2-88919-825-2)<br />Rossano, Federico 2012 Gaze behavior in face-to-face interaction. PhD MPI Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen.<br />Sacks, H., Schegloff, E. &amp; Jefferson, G. 1974, A simplest systematics for the organization of turn-taking for conversation. Language 50, 696-735. (doi: 10.1353/lan.1974.0010)


Deborah CameronDeborah Cameron

Deborah Cameron

Sunday 16th 14:30 – 15:15
The taming of the shrill: Gender, power and political speech

‘It was and still is true’, wrote the anthropologist Susan Phillips in 2003, ‘that men dominate public talk, and not just in village-level politics, and not just in non-Western societies’.

Drawing on the research Sylvia Shaw and I did for our book Gender Power and Political Speech (2016), a case study of the 2015 UK General Election campaign, as well as material relating to the 2016 US presidential election, this plenary talk explores the conflicting linguistic norms and ideologies which female political actors in western democracies are obliged to negotiate.

I will suggest that one key problem these women face is the existence of a gap or disconnect between the observable facts of their linguistic behaviour and the reception/representation of that behaviour by others: gender difference, whether positively or negatively evaluated, is largely constructed through acts of interpretation.

I argue that this real-world pragmatic problem deserves more attention than it has sometimes received in recent research on language and gender.

Cameron, D. and S. Shaw (2016) Gender, Power and Political Speech. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Phillips, S.U. (2003) The power of gender ideologies in discourse, in Ehrlich, S. and Meyerhoff, M. (eds.) The Handbook of Language and Gender, pp.252-76. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.


Colleen CotterColleen Cotter

Colleen Cotter

Friday 21st 15.30 – 16.15
News as we know it: Exploring the fake news dynamic

News, like language, indexes a range of meanings about the larger world and our connection to it. In this paper, I look at the dynamic between “alternative facts” in news discourse and the “echo chamber,” or the context by which beliefs are reinforced, often through repetition more than verified fact.

The measure to which “fake news” and its ilk succeeds and persuades occurs on two fronts: we believe it or are compelled to doubt its provenance, both of which have real-world impacts. What is it about language and how it is used that effects particular actions or reinforces certain ideologies?

How do diverse media domains and channels of transmission and consumption encourage “fake” news?

Over the past several years, Western society has changed how it consumes public information, and I argue that as we are no longer comparably socialised into what news “means” more broadly, this can work against a larger shared social understanding and critical response.

Similarly, the extent to which we can rely on our own knowledge and our “reliable sources” – neighbours, family members, trained journalists, experts, or our own research – is called into question, as social commentators have made clear. These are the contexts in which “fake news” proliferates. Thus, awareness of discourse conventions, reporting practices, story-types, sources, and familiarity with social media patterns and search-engine algorithms have the benefit of instilling media literacy, an important corrective that can allow social action and argument over inertia and disengagement. At its root, how language is used and controlled is key to understanding the fake news dynamic.


John HeritageJohn Heritage

John Heritage

Friday 21st 16.15 – 17.00
The expression of authority in primary care medicine

According to the sociologist Paul Starr (1982), when patients agree to recommendations for medical treatment, they engage in the ‘surrender of private judgment.’ The medical authority to which they acquiesce comes in two flavors: epistemic and deontic. Epistemic authority is perhaps most evident in the diagnostic stage of medical consultations, while its deontic counterpart is more evident in the context of treatment recommendations.

This paper asks whether and how this authority finds verbal expression in these two moments in primary care. It does so by (i) describing the design of turns at talk in which primary care physicians render diagnoses and make treatment recommendations, and (ii) describing the frequency and extent to which patients respond to these two forms of medical action. The paper is based on a study of c.300 American primary care consultations, with brief comparisons of other secondary consultations.


Wei LiWei Li

Li Wei

Sunday 16th 15.45-16.30
Translating karate: A translanguaging perspective on learning

Translation is ‘a way of thinking about how languages, people, and cultures are transformed as they move between different places’ (Young, 2003, p.29). In this talk, I will discuss how culture is translated in a multilingual karate club in an ethnically diverse area in East London.

I will outline a theoretical perspective on researching this transformative, multilingual process, namely, Translanguaging and discuss the idea of learning as resemiotization. The karate club is led by a 6th dan Polish Roma coach who speaks primarily Polish and Romani and started learning Karate in Poland in his teens and moved to London as an adult.

The participants are local school children who speak a range of named languages including Polish, Russian, Lithuanian, and a variety of English. Using data collected through a 3-month linguistic ethnography, we found that there is an intersectional layer of cultures which are referenced, reiterated, ritualised or revered in coaching and learning practices. These include karate culture, culture of learning, and culture of practice and their associated values such as respect, hierarchical social order, competitiveness, learning through modelling, repetition and whole-body pragmatics, and self-discipline.

In the meanwhile, there is a certain level of subjectivity in the perceived ownership and origins of these cultures. The connection with Japaneseness (the origins to which karate is often attributed) may be lost in translation.  Multiple languages and embodied pragmatic cues are used in coaching but for different purposes: although certain Japanese language competence is required, the use of Japanese is limited to performativity and rituals, as a technical code, as command, and occasionally as an indicator of one’s professional expertise. In contrast, Polish, English and other linguistic, semiotic and physical acts are performed collaboratively as languages of instruction, elaboration, disciplines or information. We argue that such dynamic Translanguaging practices contribute to the transformation of karate from a national martial arts to a global one, which, paradoxically, capitalises on the myth of karate as a Japanese martial arts.


Elizabeth StokoeElizabeth Stokoe

Elizabeth Stokoe

Wednesday 19th 8.30-9.15
When conversation starts

In this paper, I will focus on a topic that is of longstanding interest to conversation analysts: the start of an encounter. My aim is to compare openings across many different settings, from friends talking on the phone to police negotiators talking to persons threatening suicide.

I want to show how, across medical, commercial and other settings, a focus on openings can work to engage non-academic professionals in the value, integrity and rigour of conversation analysis. I will also give examples of how the analysis of openings can overturn widespread understandings of what a ‘good’ opening looks like, and how research can build the foundations of an alternative method for communication training using the Conversation Analytic Role-play Method.